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EveryBlock Beef Suspected After Brick Thrown at Rogers Park Chamber Window

By Linze Rice | September 29, 2015 12:26pm
 Bill Morton holds up the banner that was hanging where the brick was thrown.
Bill Morton holds up the banner that was hanging where the brick was thrown.
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DNAinfo/Linze Rice

ROGERS PARK — As Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce President Bill Morton made coffee at his 7231 N. Sheridan Road office Tuesday morning — like he does every morning — something "terrifying" and unusual happened.

A brick was thrown through the chamber's window and landed on Morton's desk, just minutes after he flipped on the light switch and turned the coffee pot on.

It was 7:45 a.m., he said.

"I was so shocked. I thought my skin was gonna come off, like my spirit came out of my body," Morton said, recalling a smaller crash before a "huge" sound that left him frozen with fear.

The brick landed squarely on Morton's desk, where it remained untouched as late as 11 a.m.

Shards of glass covered the floor of the small office.

Linze Rice says Morton feels the chamber was targeted after online attacks:

The brick that flew through the window landed on Bill Morton's desk, along with shards of glass. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]

After about five minutes, he said he called police, and Morton filed a police report, a record of which was given to DNAinfo Chicago.

Officer Jose Estrada, a Chicago Police Department spokesman, said a 38-year-old man reported a brick being thrown through the window of his office in the 7200 block of North Sheridan Road Tuesday around 7:50 a.m., specifying that it was the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce.

Estrada said the investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made.

Morton said he agreed with police, who said it appeared the brick was thrown from Leone Park, the same place Morton was present when two people were shot in late August.

"I haven't felt like this since the Leone Park shooting. It reminded me of that," Morton said.

The brick, which entered the office from the window facing the park on the south side of the building, was aimed at a banner which displayed the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce name and logo, hanging near the top of the window.

The plastic suction cups and mini-hangers which held the banner were still in place, on either side of a gaping hole where the brick came through.

The "last thing the chamber did" was post a public letter on social media at midnight  in support of finding new ways to streamline the city's process for sign-hanging, Morton said.

Glass strewn across the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce floor. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]

Earlier this month, police also issued a warning to businesses owners of smash-and-grab burglaries taking place in the area, with the closest incident to the chamber occurring in the 1400 block of West Morse.

There are no security cameras either in the park or at the chamber that would have captured the attack, though Morton said he will speed up the purchase of security cameras.

Morton also said he suspects either he or the chamber was targeted, given recent personal and business-related attacks on social media — specifically on the EveryBlock website  — where he says both he and the chamber have been threatened.

"They may have crossed the line this time," he said. "I don't know who would do such a thing. It's a pretty rotten deed."

He said he's still shaken up, but is working to get the window repaired as soon as possible, something that's difficult given the chamber's only revenue is through membership fees, which typically just cover rent and utilities.

Wednesday afternoon, Ardmore Glass will be there to replace the window, a $400 expenditure, Morton said.

It's scary he said, but won't hinder the chamber's ability to keep active in the neighborhood.

"We will continue to support local, small businesses. Though it may be a setback, it will not deter us from advocating for businesses or supporting the local community," Morton said.

Bill Morton inside the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]

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